Documentary Director Nguyen Kim Hong
Documentary Director Nguyen Kim Hong
◎Written by Sie Sin-jia
◎English translation by Hou Ya-ting
◎Photos courtesy of Nguyen Kim Hong
Ms. Nguyen Kim Hong, a citizen of Vietnam, a Taiwanese daughter-in-law, and a Vietnamese cultural advocate, is also a documentary director. As an immigrant residing in Taiwan, Ms. Nguyen's cross-cultural background has at times proved to be both a blessing and an obstacle. Through the lens, Ms. Nguyen tells her own stories, and those of fellow Vietnamese immigrants and migrant workers living in Taiwan.
Each time Ms. Nguyen begins to film a documentary, her experience of living in Kaohsiung provides fresh perspectives and reveals the sentiments of Vietnamese living in Taiwan. Besides making documentaries to record and speak out for Vietnamese in Taiwan, Ms. Nguyen has worked with some of her compatriots to establish a Vietnamese Association in Chiayi County's Minsyong Township. There, Vietnamese immigrants and migrant workers can immerse themselves in their native culture and attend workshops through which they introduce Vietnamese culture to Taiwanese people.
Ms. Nguyen's husband, Mr. Tsai Tsung-lung, is a director himself, and led her to film her first documentary. Ms. Nguyen says she often watches documentaries at home with her husband, and she can remember the first time she realized that a well-made and thoughtful documentary could imprint a strong message on its audience. The documentary in question was Dapu Incident at Jhunan Township in Miaoli County, and seeing the crying of old people protesting a government plan to demolish their homes, Ms. Nguyen burst into tears. The Dapu residents' overwhelming predicament resonated strongly with her, and ever since she has been enraptured by the documentary form of communication.
Ms. Nguyen channels her and compatriots' voices into filming documentaries. She feels the views and opinions of Vietnamese immigrants and migrant workers are often neglected due to a lack of platforms and insufficient interaction with Taiwanese. She hopes to reduce the level of ethnic discrimination encountered by some Vietnamese living in Taiwan. Ms. Nguyen's passion for making documentaries and her willingness to hear out her interviewees result in films that burst with authenticity.
Ms. Nguyen has so far filmed three documentaries, including Out/Marriage, See You, Lovable Stranger, and one currently in post-production that focuses on second-generation immigrants. Out/Marriage features four immigrants in Taiwan who have had gone through divorces, and how they have courageously handled various struggles and dilemmas to carry on in life. See you, Lovable Stranger depicts illegal migrant workers in Taiwan.
Ms. Nguyen wishes other immigrants could make documentaries, so the voices of this segment of the population would be more likely to be heard throughout society. This April, Ms. Nguyen attended the Cellphone Video-Editing Workshop for Immigrant Residents, a class organized by Kaohsiung City Government's Information Bureau. At the workshop she shared her documentaries, and they were warmly received by attendees.
Ms. Nguyen's documentaries highlight facets of Vietnamese culture, and whenever there is a formal showing, she attends so that she can elaborate on her works. She firmly believes that greater interaction will reduce discrimination against Vietnamese immigrants.
Even before she has finished her current project about second-generation immigrants, Ms. Nguyen is contemplating making another documentary, this time about her late mother. Ms. Nguyen says that, when her mother's health was deteriorating, she made frequent visits home to see her mother and record images of her. Ms. Nguyen feels blessed that she has been able to record her family and her Vietnamese compatriots, and express herself through her documentaries.
Vietnamese Association in Chiayi County’s Minsyong Township Facebook (Chinese-language only) :